5 ways to witness for peace
10 November 2023 by Clare Wood
The scale of the violence and harm to civilians is unprecedented and unlike anything in living memory. Hospitals, schools, places of worship, roads, and homes have been decimated, and civilians have been targeted.
Together for Humanity is hosting a vigil to 'stand against rising antisemitism and anti-Muslim hate amidst the ongoing conflict in Israel-Palestine'.
The vigil will be on Sunday 3 December at 3pm opposite Downing Street. It will bring together political, faith and civil society leaders, and the public, to 'create a space for people to grieve for all civilians killed in this war' and to 'share a vision of hope that people of different backgrounds and faiths can live in peace alongside each other, here in the UK and around the world.' Attendees are asked not to bring banners or flags. Some Quakers are planning to attend. Find out more.
Razor Wire & Olive Branches is a teaching resource (11+) to explore conflict, human rights and peacemaking in Palestine and Israel. It contains 28 case studies of Israelis and Palestinians and dozens of cross-curricular activities exploring identity, history and active citizenship. The resource use EAPPI's principle of principled impartiality, remaining neutral on the sides of the conflict but clearly communicating the importance of human rights and international law. You can order your copies from the Quaker Bookshop, download accompanying materials (zip) and watch accompanying videos (YouTube) and download free sample resources on TES
'How can educators respond to events in Palestine and Israel?' blog Ellis Brooks from the peace education team discusses the challenges for teachers and how to educate with humanity and impartiality.
Friends World Committee for Consultation Europe and Middle East Section website has a list of resources and links to online meetings for worship for peace.
On 13 October, the Israeli military called for 1.2 million civilians in northern Gaza to relocate to the south within 24 hours. The UN has said that this will be impossible without devastating humanitarian consequences. According to the Norwegian Refugee Council, "absent of any guarantees of safety or return, would amount to the war crime of forcible transfer". The international community must act to uphold international law. Contact your MP or contact your TD in Ireland.
The bombardment has led to a desperate health and humanitarian crisis in Gaza.
Medical Aid for Palestinians are responding to the current emergency where hospitals can't cope with an influx of serious injuries. Donate now.
This major escalation did not happen in a vacuum. Here are some resources to help you understand the context and the events that led to this point.
This 6-minute video from Jewish Voice for Peace offers a simple and succinct historical background. Watch on YouTube.
Gaza has been under Israeli military blockade since 2007 and is often described as 'the worlds largest open air prison'. 80% of its population rely on foreign aid to survive and 97% of the water is undrinkable. This virtual tour by Israeli-Palestinian tour group, Green Olive Collective, takes you around Gaza and introduces the political and humanitarian realities. Watch on YouTube.
In the final days of 2022, the most religious and hardline right-wing government in Israel's history was sworn in. Since then, there has been a rapid increase in violence towards Palestinians in the West Bank, including the highest daily average of settler-related incidents affecting Palestinians since the UN started recording this data in 2006. By September, almost 2,000 Palestinians had been displaced due to settler violence and military demolitions of essential structures, including homes and water resources. Meanwhile, the new Israeli government committed to building thousands of new illegal settlements on Palestinian land. The military also carried out mass raids and arrests, including of children, and doubled down on the use of 'administrative detention', holding almost 1,200 Palestinians indefinitely without charge or trial. You can read eyewitness testimonies from our human rights monitors in the West Bank for a thorough understanding of the issues. Visit the Eyewitness blog website.
Actively seek out articles written by Palestinians and Israelis. We recommend subscribing to the joint Israeli-Palestinian online news outlet 972+ Magazine, or for televised / international coverage, Al Jazeera English, which has journalists in both Palestine and Israel.
Human Rights Watch and others have reported on the circulation of a number of unverifiable posts trending on social media. Please be mindful of what you share. Due to Israel's cutting off of electricity and the prohibition of international journalists into Gaza, it is becoming ever more challenging for Gazans to get their story heard. Palestinian and Israeli human rights organisations are doing their best to keep up the reporting under unthinkable conditions. Here are some suggested accounts to follow that are especially active right now:
There is also a list of Palestinian and Israeli human rights organisations on the Eyewitness blogs website.
The Oscar-nominated Palestinian short film The Present on Netflix illustrates the everyday humiliations Palestinians face living under occupation.
Historically, the escalation of violence in Palestine and Israel has resulted in an upsurge of antisemitic and Islamophobic attacks in the UK, and it is distressing to see some reports of such incidents already. Please call out hateful and oppressive speech when you encounter it and, where you can, extend care and support for your Muslim and Jewish neighbours.
For more actions and reading about Israel-Palestine, visit EAPPI UK & Ireland's online action centre at
Photo: Smoke rises from Gaza near where Hamas militants broke through kibbutz Kfar Aza's fence in Israel days earlier, photo credit: Alexi J. Rosenfeld for Getty Images
10 November 2023 by Clare Wood